Tag Archives: beer

Spoiling myself for my birthday

8 Sep

As I’m sure you can tell from this blog, I don’t exactly deprive myself of delicious things. But when I’m not out at incredible restaurants, I do try to eat healthy as much as possible.  I realized a long time ago that skinny just doesn’t taste very good.  So I’ll take a few extra pounds and be very happy… I just try to watch it when I can.

For my birthday, however, all bets are off.

And my birthday is a multiple day extravaganza, of course, so the eating just keeps on rolling.

The Friday before my birthday, I treated myself to one of my favorite breakfast sandwiches: The Works from Piccolo Cafe.  There are 3 Piccolos in the city (UWS, Midtown East, Midtown West, and near Union Square).  “The Works” has nicely toasted bread, eggs, tomato, lettuce, parmesan, and truffle spread. It’s awesome (they also have really nice pastas).



I took a half day so on my way to a lovely birthday mani/pedi with my mom, I stopped at Bon Chon Chicken and had my guilty pleasure, fried chicken drumsticks, and a Sea Dog Wild Blueberry Beer (from Maine).  I didn’t totally get the Bon Chon craze, even after trying it, but I find myself craving this chicken on regular occasions and I really have no idea why.



And for dessert, I was ECSTATIC to find out that Fresh Direct now stocks the very Maine gelato we brought in special for our wedding, Gelato Fiasco.  If you have not tried their Caramel Sea Salt gelato yet, you have not lived. It’s sensational.



And, of course, the one time each year that I allow myself to have a full fat, full whip, Frappuccino is on my birthday.  This was a caramel frap with chocolate cookie pieces on top. I really wanted the Caramel Crunch one, but that is a seasonal, apparently. This was a close second.


All these treats were in addition to an amazing meal at Sushi Nakazawa and an impromptu dinner at Lafayette.

A very successful food-filled birthday, if I do say so myself!




All Around Stowe, VT and The Best Beer in the World

4 Feb

One thing that Stowe, VT certainly does not short on is food options. In fact, we wound up making a full day of eating based almost entirely around the samples at various famous eating places.

Our first stop was at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill.  They weren’t pressing cider, but we got to sample some as we walked around their fun gift shop. And we got a “legendary” cider donut on the way out, which was very tasty.


And we picked up some fudge for later, which was also quite tasty.


Our next stop was at the Cabot Annex Store where you could drown in cheese samples (and I pretty much tried to).  They had some artisanal aged cheddar that was incredible and we also enjoyed samples of syrups and cheese dips.


From there… it was dessert time. So off to Ben & Jerry’s factory we went.


It was beyond cold that weekend, and the ice made an absolutely beautiful casing around the very red berries on this tree.


And we were there just in time for some Scotchy Scotch Scotch, which had signs everywhere.


It was a solid 45 minutes before the next tour, so we stopped in the scoop shop and got some sundaes.


My waffle cone bowl was super good, and I really loved the Scotchy Scotch Scotch flavor.


We toured the factory, which was informative, however, they weren’t producing anything since they were upgrading, so there wasn’t a ton to see. You can’t take pictures during the tour, until you get to the tasting room.

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We also tried a special flavor, which had frozen bing cherries and cherry filled chocolate cups in it.  I loved the cups but the cherries were a bit to tart.


One of my favorite parts of the tour last time I went (which was probably about 15 years ago!), they had a really cool part where they told us about the flavor testers who would chop the cartons in half to check that the mix-ins were thoroughly mixed in and do random quality checks for flavor. This was the most memorable part of the tour for me, but it was missing this time!  I was bummed about that and then as we left, we tried to go to the Flavor Graveyard but it was too icy so it was closed.  Damn.

But we sure got a nice snowy walk under the beautiful trees.


As food nerds, we had done all of the food things we could find, but we were still lacking in one department: beer.

Apparently, the only place to get the beer ranked Best Beer in the World was in this area of Vermont.  We went to two different stores to find it, but they were entirely out.  Apparently, people line up behind the delivery truck to buy these coveted beers.  We called around and finally found a store halfway between Burlington and Stowe that had it in stock, but they told us to “come fast.”  So we got there as fast as we (safely) could and there, before our very eyes, were a dozen Heady Toppers.


We very excitedly bought a few to try.


And you know what? They were really that good. I don’t know if it’s the best beer I’ve ever had, but they were just the right balance of everything. Bitter like an IPA but without any of the aftertaste and the bitterness was only on the front.  It was ever so delicately sweet and you just can’t help but want more.  It actually reminds me of one of my favorite NYC local beers, Sweet Action (from Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn), but it was certainly just a wee bit more interesting and delicious.

Maybe it really is the fact that it’s hard to get and has so much lore that made it taste a little bit better, but I really enjoyed the beer (and brought back a few to have at home).


And you can’t help but love the instructions to ONLY drink it out of the can (apparently, that’s how the flavor is best) and I really did love their note “DON’T BE A D-BAG, RECYCLE THIS CAN.”


A great nomming adventure through Stowe!



Honeymoon: Bend, Oregon – The Ale Trail

26 Jul

We decided to stop in Bend, Oregon for a night because we heard great things about the breweries there. Sure enough, they brag about how they have more breweries per person than most anywhere and even have an Ale Trail where you get a prize if you get your “passport” stamped by all 10 breweries.  We were going to make a go of it, but we decided that it was meant for a multiple-day stay and was probably not prudent to be attempted in our 8 hours in Bend.  But we did manage to hit quite a few.

We actually started in Sisters, OR (right outside Bend) at Three Creeks Brewery.  They had an incredible beer sampler where you could try all the craft beers on their menu.

Sampler!!! At the extra credit brewery in Sisters. #overachievers #theaxelbaums #nycnomnom #bendaletrail by @nycnomnom

We also grabbed a burger there to make sure we could keep the sampling going.  We split the Hawaiian burger which put pineapple and teriyaki sauce onto a hamburger.  And it was pretty magical.

We then went into Bend where we walked around a bit to buy some binoculars (too many cool creatures and birds out there that we wanted to see up close) and we stopped at a brand new Naked Winery tasting room. We really enjoyed their wines and their clever names were clever and funny.  From there, we walked up to find the breweries on the Ale Trail.  We wound up walking through what looked like an abandoned parking lot and storage building until we found what wound up being our favorite brewery, Crux Fermentation Project. There we tried 2 of their craft brews: Tough Love and On the Fence.

Brewery tasting. Tough Love and On The Fence at Crux Fermentation. by @nycnomnom

Tough Love was one of the best beers I’ve ever tried. Here was the description: “Banished Imperial Stout – 11.5 ABV, 70 IBU. Tough Love is bold but nuanced, an homage of sorts to the traditional Russian Imperial Stouts and the ruling style of Catherine the Great. We construct it with dark roasted malts, malted rye, and oak-smoked wheat, and then banish it for nine months in Kentucky bourbon barrels. The aging process smooths out the edges on an otherwise bold statement, and bitterness succumbs to tender strokes of vanilla beans, hints of dried cherries, and new layers revealing themselves with each sip.”


We were there on a Monday, which happens to be the only day that the kitchen isn’t open.  So instead they have food carts come to their patio where they have the coolest fire pit I’ve ever seen.

They had a Mexican cart, which meant my peppers allergy kept me away, but cool concept.

On they way out of Crux to the next brewery on the ale tour, we had trouble finding our way and wound up wandering through a neighborhood and saw a bit of the Bend underbelly.  The map wasn’t exactly clear and we wound up at Boneyard a few minutes after they closed. Darn.  And then we were a bit lost again trying to find the next place. (They should paint the sidewalks or add signage for this Ale Trail).

Extreme honeymooning. Here we see a tourist in his unnatural habitat. Notice the back pack, binoculars, map, and look of utter confusion. Let’s watch. #theaxelbaums by @nycnomnom

By this time it was a bit late and we were getting hungry again, so we went to 10 Barrel Brewing Company where we heard the food was good.  While waiting for a table, we sat by the fire outside and Mike took this picture which has a very eery scull in the flames.

Photo by skywolfx * Instagram by @skywolfx

We wound up waiting a long, long, long time for a table (and I noticed a few people that absolutely came after us were seated before us).  When we went up to ask, she was suddenly very concerned as she scanned up her list and then we were quickly informed “Oh! You’re next!” and sat immediately.  Whooops.

We ordered the lamb burger which was ground with sun dried cranberries and feta cheese and topped with chevre cheese, artichoke tapenade, arugula, roma tomato, pesto aioli, and balsamic reduction.  It took a long time to come out.

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Lots of ingredients I absolutely love.

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But when it came down to it, I didn’t really taste any of those lovely things. It tasted a bit lamby, but there were no other real distinct flavors.  A bit of a let down.

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And after a whole lot more waiting, our pizza came. We made our own by combining a garlic cream sauce white cheese base with prosciutto, mushrooms, pineapple, and artichoke hearts with provolone.

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Upskirt shot.

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The pizza was okay.  Just okay.  Again, lots of great flavors in concept but nothing too distinct about any one of them on the pizza.

So all-in-all, we were pretty disappointed by our 10 Barrel dining experience.  The beers we tried were also meh. I also didn’t feel so great in the belly region after this meal, and while I’m not sure if it was the food or not, I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t.  So needless to say, we won’t be rushing back here next time we’re in Bend (and yes… there WILL be a next time… great city).

Next time we’ll just stay a Crux a little longer and maybe try their kitchen.